Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Restaurant review

Home of the Porno Burrito

Today’s subject: the potato taco or, to be more specific, the wonderment of civilization that is the potato taco at El Atacor #11, a taquería chain’s grungy outpost on the fringes of Glassell Park. You have, no doubt, tasted a potato taco, perhaps the basic model of the starch bomb tricked out with chopped onion and a bit of salsa, or perhaps one of the fancy examples of the breed, cooked with the roasted-chile mixture called rajas or embellished with all manner of sautéed vegetables.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Narrative story of the week

"Beyond the Statistics: Druggist Confronts the Reality of Robbery" is one of the three pieces in the Pulitzer-winning feature package by
Angelo B. Henderson of the Wall Street Journal in 1999. This particular piece is a good example of the type of narrative you will do for your final.

DETROIT -- "Get on the ground," a man holding a gun screamed. "I'll blow your heads off if you move."

Dennis Grehl and a co-worker complied. Dreamlike, he found himself lying face down on a cold, gritty black-tile floor, a pistol against the back of his head.

"Please, mister, don't make me shoot you," a second gunman threatened. A crazy memory: tiny specks of light floating in the tile; that, and the paralyzing weight of helplessness.

Mr. Grehl is a pharmacist, unassuming, mild mannered. A family man with a wife and a daughter.

He was being robbed. He works in the Redford Pharmacy, a small neighborhood place in northwest Detroit. It's been around forever; the kind of place that delivers.

He had gone into his chosen profession in part because his mother had advised him to. "Nice and clean," she had said. Plus, he liked to help people.

He had helped these guys, too. One said he was looking for foot powder and skin lotion; the other, cough drops. They were African-Americans, well-dressed. They had totally conned him from out behind his counter.

Now he was a chump, on the floor.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dramatic narrative

This story of a man who survived a grizzly bear attack was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer prize. Read it and see why.

A hike into horror and an act of courage in Glacier National Park

A California man visiting Glacier National Park with his daughter instinctively puts himself between her and the rampaging bear's claws and teeth.
By Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2007
Glacier National Park, Mont. — Johan looked up. Jenna was running toward him. She had yelled something, he wasn't sure what. Then he saw it. The open mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the flattened ears. Jenna ran right past him, and it struck him — a flash of fur, two jumps, 400 pounds of lightning.

It was a grizzly, and it had him by his left thigh. His mind started racing — to Jenna, to the trip, to fighting, to escaping. The bear jerked him back and forth like a rag doll, but he remembered no pain, just disbelief. It bit into him again and again, its jaw like a sharp vise stopping at nothing until teeth hit bone. Then came the claws, rising like shiny knife blades, long and stark.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Examples of government/social issue stories

These two stories are good examples of the types of stories for your next assignment.

This first one, from the LA Times, is a good example of a controversy story.

FORT COLLINS, COLO. -- When it starts at 10,000 feet and slices through the mountains in the canyon that bears its name, the Cache la Poudre River is a shock of water in this dry land.

But by the time it winds its way out to this laid-back college city of 120,000 people, most of its water has been grabbed by farmers and other cities that control the maze of canals and diversion dams that turn the river into a trickle.

This second story is profile of a dead U.S. solider who will receive the medal of honor for saving three Navy Seals in Iraq.

On the last day of his life, on a rooftop in Ramadi, Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor was assigned to protect three SEAL snipers. When an insurgent's grenade lobbed from the street bounced off Monsoor's chest, he didn't hesitate. He yelled "Grenade!" and pounced on it even though he had a clear path of escape.

He was dead within 30 minutes, but he had saved the lives of three SEALs.